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Bibil Identifier bibil:246600
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Nothing Is Not One: Revisiting the ex nihilo
Author Burrus, Virginia
Journal Modern Theology (Volume: 29, Issue: 2)
Year (Publication) 2013
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2013
Year (Copyright) 2013
Year (Reference) 2013
Language English
Pages 33-48 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract This article seeks to encounter the late ancient doctrine of creatio ex nihilo from a new angle, gently questioning both its distinctive Christianness and its inevitable alignment with a theology of absolute sovereignty. Franz Rosenzweig's idiosyncratic elaboration of this doctrine opens up new lines of thought: multiplying the “nothing” while also emphasizing its fecundity, he articulates not only a negative theology but also a negative anthropology and cosmology; insisting on the irreducible relationality of God, human, and world, he also posits their non-essentiality. Admittedly, early versions of creatio ex nihilo (Irenaeus, Tertullian) foreground the omnipotence of the creator and the goodness of the created world, and these concerns continue to be expressed by later proponents of the ex nihilo, Jewish as well as Christian. However, beginning in the fourth century there are hints of something new as well, something more Rosenzweigian—namely, a preoccupation with the nothing itself. What comes increasingly to the fore in these articulations of the ex nihilo is not mastery but mystery, not power but fragility, not separation but intimacy—and paradoxically so, given that the gap between creator and created has never before seemed to yawn so widely. This shift is manifest in the opening passages of Genesis Rabbah, I would suggest. It is also evident in the locus classicus of post-Constantinian Christian ex nihilo doctrine, namely Athanasius's On the Incarnation of the Word of God.
DOI 10.1111/moth.12020
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Irenaeus
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Tertullian
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Athanasius
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Themes : Creation
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Literature : Midrash : Exegetical Midrashim : Genesis Rabba (GenR)
Thesaurus BiBIL : Bible (as a whole) : History of Interpretation and Reception : Important Persons : 20th century : Rosenzweig, Franz
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Last modification 2017-10-27